It's that time of the year again..

We said last time we won't do a March announcement and we made good on that word....the week before March.

Sorry about that but as you know, reviewing and planning the contest takes time, along with Judges' personal and work commitments too. Hopefully we'll be able to announce earlier next time.

In any case, people have more than enough time to plan for this year, and there will be those intending to submit, who have been working on potential entries long before this announcement.

Deadlines

CONTEST SUBMISSIONS DEADLINE: End of Sunday 4th September

CONTEST UPDATES DEADLINE: End of Sunday 11th September

EXPO SUBMISSIONS DEADLINE: End of Sunday 25th September

TRAILER SUBMISSIONS DEADLINE: End of Sunday 25th September

CONTEST WEEK FROM: Monday 10th to Sunday 16th October

Contest Dates and Contest Week

In 2021, we ran the Contest Week in the middle of October. This did not seem to cause any issues, therefore we'll be using similar dates for this year.

Like the last few years, the public will have a chance to view this year's entries, download the hacks and vote for Community Trophies which are only applicable to Contest entries.

If you're planning to debut your submission to the public you can do it then, however nobody can be stopped from releasing earlier. If you want to show it off to the biggest audience possible, the Contest Week is your best time for it.

As before, we'll have an extensive list of streamers playing the entries during the Contest Week - these will be announced closer to the time of the Contest when they have been finalised.

In addition to streaming, there will also be dedicated YouTube uploads of games being played too, the Media Panel is not just for streamers. We'll also have news coverage much like last year.

The Media Panel is a stacked lineup that continues from previous years of the Contest Week, as a result it can be hard for us to open stream space to more people as we do not want to overlap other streams unless we have no choice.

Therefore, if you are a content creator and we think you would be a great fit to our lineup, we will contact you to invite you on board, however please understand that we do not have the capacity for every person out there.

Whilst we have plenty of English language content creators, we could always do with expanding our non-English reach: if you have an established platform with a good audience that can help out with this, do contact us.

As with last year, we may offer stream time coinciding with the Media Panel streamers for entry developers to showcase their own entry (Developer Streams), however last year's offer was not taken up much by entrants.

Like with previous years, there will be a Contest Week trailer. Please check out the Trailer Submissions page for information on how to submit for the trailer, and when to do this.

Deadlines and Judging

As per before, you can choose to submit your entry to the Contest (which is judged) and the Expo (which is not, and therefore has a later deadline for entries).

This will allow us to ensure that we can better tackle niche games (should any be submitted), better than in prior contests.

Please note regarding Expo entries:

Whilst we encourage Expo entries, especially for those who do not want their entries to be judged, please note that SHC do not see them as unimportant compared to Contest entries.

We encourage all to download Contest and Expo entries, and there are always good Expo entries that stand out just as well as Contest entries, they are not always under the radar.

We cannot however force our streamers to play all entries, especially with a limited schedule for many, and if some focus on just Contest entries, it is because those are eligible for trophy voting.

Uploads and Patches

As per last year, all entries will be uploaded to the site. No off-site links will be permitted again.

Again, our download system allowed for entries to be downloaded without putting any strain on the website, and at no point did the site go down during the week.

Last year, we engaged with mod loader developers to offer one-click installs of entries on the SHC website when the entries are available to download during the Contest Week, for ease of access and to ensure people play the correctly entered mod builds. Unfortunately due to the site developer's time constraints we were unable to offer it for 2021, however we do have this up and running this year, as this will benefit the Contest and Expo entries massively. This will be handled automatically for your entry, so long as it meets the requirements for it as set by the mod loaders. Package your entry as if it were a published mod and the site itself will handle the rest!

To address an issue encountered during last year's Contest Week, this year we will also offer a separate upload area where entrants can offer additional files where required for Judges and Media Panel such as save files to access all content they want to show.

As a general note to anyone who submits, please ensure that you follow the instructions given on the website, filling in the required details where asked to, as well as marking your entry as Complete in order to submit.

Entries marked as Incomplete by the end of the Contest deadline will be moved to the Expo. Entries marked as Incomplete by the end of the Expo deadline will not be showcased.

The Judges

In 2021 we expanded the judging team to include more community members, each specialized in the various entry categories.

Thoroughly judging entries is time consuming. In 2020 we had a 35% increase in the total amount of entries due for judging compared to the previous three years.

While judges have their preference in terms of how much time is spent on a hack, the fact is that in order to play all contest hacks through from the beginning to the end it typically takes anywhere between 12 and 20 hours.

For those judges who write verbose evaluations, the overall time taken can sometimes even double.

With judges only focusing on one area, this should improved the situation for judges and entrants alike.

While most judges will be sticking to categories they are specialized in, certain judges may choose to judge one or more entry categories.

The list of judges is very similar to 2021, with the vast majority returning for another year.

Retro Entries:

· D.A. Garden, Jubbalub, mrcat-pixel, Ravenfreak, Spanner, SSF1991 (Donnie), SuperEgg and Yoshister

2DPC Entries:

· Axanery, Jubbalub, LJSTAR, RMGRich, Rubberduckycooly, SSF1991 (Donnie) and SuperSonic16

3D Entries:

· Dario FF, ĐeäTh, HyperBE32, ItsEasyActually, Melpontro, Sajid, Sewer56, Skyth, SpeepsHighway, SSF1991 (Donnie) and TwilightZoney

Cinossu remains involved with the SHC website and will be focusing on that this year rather than taking part in judging.

Any other judge from 2021 not in this list is not involved with SHC as a judge in 2022. We have decided not to replace them as the affected category had more than enough Judges still available.

Judges & Contest Submissions

Judges will be allowed to submit their own hacks, however they will not be allowed to judge their own entries (conflict of interest).

This includes submissions that they have been involved with, such as team submissions.

Like last year a spreadsheet has been made to track which games individual Judges can play, although bear in mind this year, Judges will only judge their own section unless otherwise stated.

After the main contest finishes, the Judges will provide more detailed evaluations of the entries to give their opinion, thoughts, and advice they feel is deserved.

Disclaimers

This judge list is not final and additional judges may be recruited to replace former judges who have left the contest due to retiring or other reasons.

Do not ask to be a judge as that just rules you out. If we think you're up to the job, we'll talk to you.

Not all judges can judge all games as they may not have the capability to do so.

For example: 360/PS3 based Sonic hacks requiring either powerful PC for emulation or hacked console. If you submit a non 8/16-bit entry please have this in mind.

The majority of judges however are capable of playing PC-based game entries. Due to the category split, this should not be much of a problem this year.

Please note that the final decisions are subject to the Judging Team and may not reflect your own opinion. If one hack wins a whole load of trophies that is what the judges thought should win.

Judges may change at any time due to unavailability or other reasons.

Trophies

The format is the same to last year, however these trophies will be given themed names before the Contest voting begins. First, we have three main categories that entries can fall under:

· Retro
For any and all retro console hack entries. This also will include the PC games Sonic & Knuckles Collection, Sonic 3D Blast / Flickies' Island.

· 3D
For all entries based on the 3D Sonic games outright, whether it's Sonic R, Sonic Adventure DX, Sonic 06, Sonic Forces, the list goes on and on.

· 2D PC
For those entries based on the 2D ports, rereleases, and remasters on PC, as well as Sonic Mania and Sonic Origins. Please note the following below:

RSDK decompilation based mods will also be permitted this year, and can be submitted to both the Contest and Expo, as they are based on the official iOS/Android releases.

This year, due to requests to review our previous stance on these, we will be allowing mods of Sonic 3 Angel Island Revisited (A.I.R) to the 2DPC section of the Contest, in addition to the Expo.

Although the port is fan made, it is a common way for people to play Sonic 3 & Knuckles on PC. The game uses the S3&K ROM for assets and the code was translated to a scripting system that acts similar to 68K ASM.

Please check the Rules page regarding eligible 2D PC entries as some types of submissions remain Expo Only.

Please note that the Quality Control Criteria will still be strictly enforced. Low effort or basic mods will not be allowed into the Contest or Expo. It is not a free-for-all.

All three of these categories will have a Top 3 result and individual trophies of the following:

· Best Visual
· Best Audio
· Best Technical
· Best Level Design
· Best Level Layouts
· Best Voted by Media Panel
· Most Entertaining
· Most WTF (Polygon Jim)
· Best Team Entry
· Best Multiplayer Entry
· Best Character Implementation
· Best Boss Design
· Best Fresh Concept Using Existing Concepts As A Backbone
· Best Use of a Game Not Commonly Modified
· Most Potential
· Most Improved Since Last Year

And what of community trophies, you ask? Like last year, apart from the obvious exception of "Best Voted by Media Panel", the community get to vote on each and all of these categories and trophies as well.

Regarding Themed Trophy Names

SHC used to have themed trophies for contest winners, rather than standard names. For example, Hidden Palace was first place. Most entertaining / fun entry submitted was the Casinopolis Trophy.

In an attempt to make things easier to understand, we scrapped the themed names for SHC2019. However, people asked for them to be returned for a few years, and it has been something that was on the back burner, as we corrected other aspects of the SHC to improve upon prior years, such as 2021 bringing a complete judging split.

Now, however, is the time to bring the themed trophies back, but rather than spending months trying to come up with new or returning names, we left it to the public, to give us their best suggestions. We're in the process of tablating and taking them into consideration before they are finalised. You will have to wait and see what they are when it comes time to vote!